a man is born
The Allied Community Coop is now official! We filed our Articles of Incorporation and appointed an interim Board in August. August 23 we held our kickoff Taste of Allied event, wearing and distributing our brand new t-shirts that we were able to design together and purchase through a city Placemaking grant. The party was really fun! We pulled through some adverse circumstances, including pouring rain, to have a really cool day together. In the morning people helped paint a mural on the street, we grilled out, signed up Coop members, tried on shirts. When the rain came down we moved into the Boys and Girls Club and Juanita and her family and friends served everyone amazing tacos! Deacon Tony from Second Baptist Church gave backpacks with school supplies to the kids. It was super sweet.
On September 13 we brought Christina Foster, and Art of Hosting practitioner, to present at the Mayor’s Neighborhood Conference and then to do a workshop with Allied Coop leaders. That was very rich and very helpful. We had 10 people learning how to host circles and world cafe, and focused on the 12 Principles to Support a Healthy Community. This will prepare us for developing capacity and leadership to facilitate problem-solving and project facilitation in the Coop and the neighborhood.
Yesterday we had our first Coop membership meeting, where we formally adopted our bylaws and elected our Board. I’m one of 11 members, as a representative of the Dane County TimeBank. Our bylaws require matching numbers of residents and organization reps, numbering 3-5 of each, plus one at-large member. I’m one of three Board members who don’t live in the neighborhood. The other organization reps are Sina Davis (Mothers in the Neighborhood), Selena Pettigrew (Allied-Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association), Gloria Menadier-Farr (Nehemiah), and WillieMae Conklin (Allied Wellness Center). The residents are Cassandra Sonko, Minnie Rogers, John Murphy, Alice Howard and Janie Tompkins. The nominated in absentia member at-large is Juanita Bushert (the wonderful person who brought tacos to the party!), who has been very helpful in connecting the Coop more into the Latino community.
First order of business – respond to the fact that the neighborhood has had no grocery store for five years, plus now the Walgreen’s where people get their food (yes, not a good source of healthy food) and medicine is set to close in December. We’ll host a town hall meeting October 17 and also get out to City Council meetings to advocate for city support of coop activities, including exploration of a neighborhood Coop grocery and neighborhood center. Wish us luck! Better yet, support us with time, energy or money!
Oh, and I did mention ‘a man is born’ – because the Allied Community Coop (ACC) is the first iteration of a mutual aid network as I conceive of it. Because we (ACC) haven’t officially decided to become a member of the Main MAN (and membership in it doesn’t yet exist but will soon!) it’s a lower-case man — designed in a way to connect savings pools, timebanking, and other forms of sharing and exchange to build community wealth, interdependence, and self-sufficiency.
So that’s where we are. I’m slowly posting meeting notes and bylaws on the project page at build.
Exciting times! Help us see what we can do.